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maanantai 28. helmikuuta 2011

Finns and the True Finns

Jan had a chat with two new hard working locals. Robert from Kenya left, Johari from Tanzania right. No political stances taken.

Hi guys! You have lived here for a few years now. Do you feel that Finland is your home?
For me it feels like home. I am married with a Finnish woman, so this is my home.
Robert: For me this is very much my home. My family lives here and my children will start their school here, so we will stay here.

Can you tell me something about the political systems of the countries you come from?
Johari: For the moment, for some 10 years, we have had democracy in Tanzania. We have multiple-party system, so we can call it a democracy. But in fact the same party has ruled since independence 1961. So it is more like a one party system. Democracy is there, but it is mostly a name. But people are still fighting for their rights; they want to speak out openly. This year, just after election, most of the people thought that the opposition did win the election, and there were fights. The governing party did not want to give away their power. You could say that the election was free but not fare. 

How about Kenya?
Robert: The situation is a bit difficult. After we got our independence in 1964 we had one party system for long. Multiple-party system came back first 1992 after pressure from people. There was a lot of violence after the elections. The president brought his troops to the streets. There are free elections but every time they cause violence. In 2007 we had an election and people were killed and many were put in prison. Now some people have been brought to the justice and even to international court.

What do you think about the political system of Finland?
Johari: I don´t know that much but from what I see on TV and what I can see for myself, people seem to be able to speak out openly, there is development in the country, and the members of the parliament don´t seem to be there to put money in their own pockets. So, it shows that those who are elected by the people are going to represent peoples interests and problems. This is how I can see it. Heh, if you compare with the parliaments in our countries, politicians only put money in their own pockets, and their families’ pockets. Mostly they think about filling their own stomach before other people. It is a big problem. Corruption, making illegal contracts with foreign companies, just to get welth.

Do people respect politicians in your contries?
Robert: Nooo. We don’t have any respect for them. They are only enriching themselves and their families.
Johari: I would say, that people fear politicians, but don´t respect them. There is no real democracy there, only on surface. People are afraid to speak out. Politicians are very powerful and can put you in problems if someone tells them that he or she is speaking against them.
Robert: And not only taken to the prison, but also you can even get killed.
Johari: You might get the idea that people respect politicians, but in fact it is only fear.

How do you get to know the Finnish society?
Robert: For me it is mostly Internet. Yle has English international version. I read it every day. And if I find something interesting in Finnish, I can translate it to Finnish with these programs, you know.
Johari: I have many options. I try to speak Finnish with my wife and I can ask her about things. I watch news, uutiset, every day. When I come home from work I turn on the news. I read newspaper like Metro every day, atleast the headlines. And then we have friends visiting us every week, so we
talk about what is happening in Finland and so. I think I get information many different ways.

Do you know the main Finnish parties and can you separate between them, and do you know what they stand for?
Robert: I can name the main parties, they are five or six… The only difference I know is between The True Finns and the rest because this migration seems to be a big question. This is all I have noticed and now also the Greens have started to come closer to The True Finns. But the other ones… I don´t know. I don´t think the other parties have a very strong opinion on immigration.

But do you know where the parties are in other question, like taxation or education or so on?
Robert: No, I don´t know any differences there.
Johari: Me neither.

You know that we will have parliamentary elections here in April. Have you ever voted in Finland?
Robert: I am not qualified to vote since I am not a Finnish citizen.
Johari: I have voted in the local election once.

How did you choose your party because you don´t seem to know very much about them?
Johari: I had a conversation with my wife before voting. So I can say, that she influenced me. My wife is a biologist so she likes the Greens a lot. She explained me a lot about their focus and strategies and policies, so since I did not get that much information about the other parties, she had a big impact on me.

OK, thank you guys. The election is coming closer as I said, and soon it will probably be seen out on the streets too. Maybe you could keep on eye on what you see and hear, and we can meet soon again and have a chat?
Robert. Yeah, of course. 


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